New Comics for the week of 4/2/2014

ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #2 ANMN
ALL NEW ULTIMATES #1
ALL NEW X-FACTOR #6
ALL NEW X-MEN #25
AMAZING X-MEN #5
AVENGERS AI #11
AVENGERS UNDERCOVER #2 ANMN
BATGIRL #30
BATMAN ETERNAL #1
CAPTAIN MARVEL #2 (OF 6) ANMN
CATWOMAN #29
CLIVE BARKER NEXT TESTAMENT #8 (OF 12) (MR)
CONSTANTINE #13
DAREDEVIL #1.50
DEADPOOL #27 ANMN
DEADWORLD RESTORATION #5 (OF 5)
EAST OF WEST #11
GEORGE ROMEROS EMPIRE OF DEAD ACT ONE #3 (OF 5)
GREAT PACIFIC #14 CVR A MORAZZO (MR)
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #30
IRON FIST LIVING WEAPON #1 ANMN
IRON MAN #24 ANMN
IRON PATRIOT #1 ANMN
JUDGE DREDD #18
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #5
KICK-ASS 3 #7 (OF 8) (MR)
KINGS WATCH #5 (OF 5)
LEGEND OF OZ THE WICKED WEST ONGOING #17
LILITH DARK & THE BEASTIE TREE GN
LOLA XOXO #1 DIRECT MARKET CVR A
LUNITA #2 (OF 4) (RES) (MR)
MANIFEST DESTINY #6
MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 SYU
MAXX MAXXIMIZED #6
MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDS FOREVER #4
NIGHTCRAWLER #1
POWERPUFF GIRLS #8 (C: 1-0-0)
SAGA TP VOL 01 (MR)
SCOOBY DOO WHERE ARE YOU #44
SECRET AVENGERS #2 ANMN
SHUTTER #1 CVR A DEL DUCA (MR)
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG SELECT TP VOL 09 GAMES
SPONGEBOB COMICS #31
STAR WARS #16 2013 ONGOING (C: 1-0-0)
SUPERBOY #30
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM UP #11
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #11
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #7 (DOOMED)
WAKE #7 (OF 10) (MR)
WALKING DEAD #125 (MR)
WORLDS FINEST #22

Table Top with Jason – April 6th, 2014 – FOLSOM, CA

TableTopwJasonDominion

GamersCircle Comics is extremely pleased to bring table top gaming to Folsom, CA via Table Top with Jason.  Jason will be volunteering his time and sharing his board game enthusiasm with those that wish to come and either join in or just watch.

The April Table Top with Jason will be:

Sunday on April 6th, 2014 starting at Noon with the table top preference of DOMINION.

You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion!  In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.

But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn’t be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted.

Players: 2 – 4
Age: 13 +
Game Length: < 30 minutes

Comic Book Review – Aquaman #29

Aquaman_Vol_7_29

Context
Is the new creative team living in the shadow of Johns and Reis or are they finally picking up some steam of their own?

Story
I have been reading this title since its relaunch under the talented hands of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Their work was spectacular even if the title seemed to suffer from some story drift (sorry for the pun) near the end of their run. When the title transitioned to Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier I was excited. Two creators whose work I had enjoyed in the past will surely be able to continue this character’s upward momentum. Unfortunately I have been underwhelmed so far.

Jeff Parker’s writing seems confined and safe – something I have not noticed from him before. I don’t know if this is due to some editorial mandate or Parker’s own trepidation following the likes of Johns. The transition seemed smooth enough and Parker is for the most part not jettisoning the good things about the character’s revival. This issue’s story, however, will seem very familiar to any regular reader of the title. A nosy scientist betrays Aquaman and inadvertently opens a rift allowing monstrous creatures to threaten Atlantis and the surface world. We have been here before and fairly recently in fact.

What I am missing in particular is Parker’s humour. Even Johns injected a sense of self depreciation into the character. A fitting addition since Aquaman is usually the butt of jokes anyway. Parker is, after all, writing the terrific Batman ’66 title that oozes with self mocking. The end of this issue gave me a little hope. I am not terribly excited about the identity of the big bad since you know this is the classic misunderstood fight trope. I did particularly enjoy the winged serpentine woman and hope she will develop into a worthy adversary for Aquaman. Parker needs to be free to bring his style and energy to this title.

Art
Here again I feel like the current artist is trying to be too much like the previous fan favorite. Paul Pelletier’s art always looked like Alan Davis and John Byrne had a love child. He has smooth, sleek lines on solid, well positioned figures with expressive faces. You can see some of his style shine when the story stays in the slower parts of the book. Mera’s expression when she opens the door is particularly nice. Unfortunately, once the action starts, the pencils and colors remain in a singular style that makes my eye rush through the panels – nothing to see here just a smash fest.

In the major fight scene Pelletier struggles when the panel is filled with rubble and rough textures. It is hard to see where one monstrous creature ends and the next one begins. You have to work to differential between the different surface textures – even between a minotaur (hair), a cyclops (skin) and a crab monster (hard shell). I think this is made worse by a color palette that stays within a few shades of one tone throughout the battle. Norm Rapmund’s inks on the final page seem to clear up some of the clutter better than Parson’s do during the balance of the book.

Sometimes the artist’s figures can come off stiff while in action but then you get a shot like the serpentine woman beckoning the big bad through the portal – full of expression and emotion. I would like to see this creative team approach the story in such a way that will work with the artist’s strengths. I just don’t know if the art needs a better supporting cast or if Pelletier is just better suited to a book with a sleeker environment like Green Lantern or Superman.

What to look for
Is there enough here to believe that these talented creators are beginning to move in their own direction?

What might put you off
How long can we wait until these guys make this title their own?

Recommendation
Although I see a spark of hope here, I am getting a little tired of treading water (that pun was intended.) I am not too interested in seeing a poor man’s version of those who came before. I like these creators, just not what they have done together with this title.

Credits
Title Aquaman
Issue Number 29
Publisher DC

Release Date 3/26/2014
Writer Jeff Parker
Penciller Paul Pelletier
Inkers Sean Parsons and Norm Rapmund (pg.20)
Colorist Rain Beredo
Letterer Dezi Sienty
Editor Chris Conroy

Reviewed by Geoff Jolliff

A Team Divided in FANTASTIC FOUR #6 – an ORIGINAL SIN tie-in!

Fantastic_Four_6_Cover

This June, witness another nail in the coffin of the first family, as they are torn further apart in FANTASTIC FOUR #6 – an ORIGINAL SIN tie-in! From Eisner Award-Winning scribe James Robinson and fan-favorite artist Leonard Kirk comes the next blockbuster chapter of the world’s greatest comic magazine that will have you gasping!

They were the best of friends since that fateful trip into the cosmic unknown. The day the Fantastic Four were born, they became a family. Cosmic explorers – forever united. Johnny Storm became the high-flying, hot-headed Human Torch. Ben Grimm, the hideous monster known as The Thing.

Super-Scientist Reed Richards has tried time and again to reverse Grimm’s condition. Each and every time was met with failure. But there was a time when he possessed a device that held the key to permanently curing The Thing – until Johnny inadvertently destroyed it! Reed has kept Johnny’s secret for as long as he could – but now it’s about to get out!

“Something I always loved about the relationship between Ben and Johnny was how much it was like brothers, bickering, poking fun of each other, pranks…great moments that felt like real family,” said editor Mark Paniccia, “The secret that gets out will have a major effect on the two. It’s brilliant emotional stuff. Hard hitting and heart breaking.”

What will Ben do when he discovers that one of his closest friends and steadfast ally condemned him to a life sentence as a monster? It won’t be pretty. The fall of the first family continues as the Original Sin of the Fantastic Four is revealed in FANTASTIC FOUR #6!

Comic Book Review – Silver Surfer #1

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Context

A new take on Marvel’s iconic, cosmic philosopher – courtesy of Slott and the Allreds

Story
Every comic book story is a combination, in differing proportions, of words and art. Sometimes it’s a bad mix. Egos come into play and each creator fights to assert his or her own dominance on the project. Sometimes those fights produce masterpieces, other times the partnership falls apart and the work suffers. In this case it seems that Dan Slott is able to work well within the deliciously offbeat Allred universe.

The Silver Surfer is almost a religious figure at Marvel Comics. He has been used in years past to wrestle with all sorts of large philosophical questions. Dan Slott gets right to the point with the Surfer’s first scene. After saving the life of an entire planet, our hero rejects their adulation. “I deserve neither praise nor glory,” he thinks. Is the author telling us he intends to stay far away from this aspect of the character’s past or is this just a quick reminder of the nature of the Surfer’s personality and place in the universe?

The rest of the issue reads like a fun romp through an issue of Madman. Our journey includes strange environments, bizarre aliens and hipster girls that somehow reject and yet fit right in with the weird surroundings. It seems like Slott is having fun here. He is as much a tourist as his audience and his protagonist. Even so, the author is keeping us on course. I particularly enjoyed how he engineered the introduction of what will most likely be the Surfer’s new love interest. This first issue kept moving yet also stayed dedicated to careful story crafting.

Art
Michael Allred’s art seems like a perfect fit for the Silver Surfer’s universe. He has taken a decidedly Jack Kirby take on our hero while immersing him completely into a universe filled with Allred goodies. For those unfamiliar with his work, Allred uses an amazing combination of art deco, pop art and 50’s kitsch. The boundaries of his imagination seem set a little further out than most artists. That being said his work in this issue is a terrific mix of outlandish elements and classic comic book components.

The book’s art also delivers a few wow moments as well. The reveal of the Impericon on the middle splash page is something that I could look at forever. Allred also took a very unique turn at retelling the Surfer’s origin (of sorts) by having scenes from his past appear as reflections on his silvery skin.

Laura Allred’s colors amaze as well. She seems to having fun with the Silver Surfer’s classic blue highlights. She uses a pleasing mix of colored pencil effect that boarders at times on water colors when smoothed out. Even so, the Surfer retains his sleek appearance. I also liked how she worked from a complementary palate for each environment but still managed to appropriately adapt to each world. Dawn’s coastal home, for example, has its blues and beiges but also contains a fun pop of pink, yellow and red as needed.

What to look for
Dan Slott’s humor and storytelling mixed with the beautiful Allred art.

What might put you off
Some of Allred’s work may seem too weird or out there for fans of more traditional comic art

Recommendation
This is a must read. These creators are an excellent combination for this character who at times can come off stiff and unrelatable.

Credits
Title Silver Surfer
Issue Number 1
Publisher Marvel
Release Date 3/26/2014
Writer Dan Slott
Artist Michael Allred
Colorist Laura Allred
Letterer Clayton Cowles
Editor Tom Brevoort

Reviewed by Geoff Jolliff